Another Senator DeMint (R-SC) HSA Victory in the U.S. Senate

After months of work to stop, and slow, and ultimately improve the Indian Health Reauthorization bill, Senator DeMint (R-SC) has lead HSAs to yet another legislative victory.

Senator DeMint (R-SC) conducted a negotiated withdrawal of his amendment to make the new, redesigned and richly funded Indian Health Reauthorization plan a pilot program, and in return, the Democratic leaders accepted that HSAs will be an allowable option within the new Indian Health Program.

The implications of this precedent are significant.

Here is the actual amendment accepted by the bill’s sponsors (that means there was no vote, the amendment was just agreed to).

This is the section of the bill that the amendment amends:

`SEC. 405. PURCHASING HEALTH CARE COVERAGE.

`(a) In General- Insofar as amounts are made available under law (including a provision of the Social Security Act, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.), or other law, other than under section 402) to Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations for health benefits for Service beneficiaries, Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations may use such amounts to purchase health benefits coverage for such beneficiaries in any manner, including through—

‘1) a tribally owned and operated health care plan;

’(2) a State or locally authorized or licensed health care plan;

`(3) a health insurance provider or managed care organization; or

`(4) a self-insured plan.

The purchase of such coverage by an Indian Tribe, Tribal Organization, or Urban Indian Organization may be based on the financial needs of such beneficiaries (as determined by the Indian Tribe or Tribes being served based on a schedule of income levels developed or implemented by such Indian Tribe or Tribes).

`(b) Expenses for Self-Insured Plan- In the case of a self-insured plan under subsection (a)(4), the amounts may be used for expenses of operating the plan, including administration and insurance to limit the financial risks to the entity offering the plan.

‘(c) Construction- Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the use of any amounts not referred to in subsection (a).

In an era when opponents of Health Savings Accounts are running the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, Senator DeMint seems to be able to get more HSA expansion legislation passed than when HSA supporters were running the show.

This is no small trick, and we should all collectively doff our hat to Senator DeMint and his highly skilled floor staff.

This is a great precedent — adding HSAs as an option to a new government run health care program – and one which will likely come in handy in the future. It is a precedent which we heartily congratulate Senator DeMint on making a reality through his ability to negotiate from a position of strength, while a member of the Minority party in the U.S. Senate. This is a world-changing skill, and one we are so thankful Senator DeMint has deployed to expand Health Savings Accounts – again.

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